US plane shot victims fleeing Doctors without Borders hospital: Charity

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Aftermath of U.S. Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan


KABUL, Afghanistan — A U.S. warplane shot people trying to flee a burning hospital destroyed in airstrikes last month, according to the charity that ran the facility.

"Thirty of our patients and medical staff died [in the bombing]," Doctors Without Borders General Director Christopher Stokes said during a speech in Kabul unveiling a report on the incident. "Some of them lost their limbs and were decapitated in the explosions. Others were shot by the circling gunship while fleeing the burning building."

Photos from the aftermath of the airstrike:

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U.S. airstrike on Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan
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US plane shot victims fleeing Doctors without Borders hospital: Charity
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The hospital in Kunduz was bombed on Oct. 3 as Afghan government forces fought to regain control of the city from Taliban insurgents.

After the U.S. gave shifting explanations for the incident — which Doctors Without Borders has called a war crime — President Barack Obama apologized to the charity. The U.S. and Afghan governments have launched three separate investigations but the charity, which is also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is calling for an international inquiry.

Thursday's report added: "Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC-130 gunship while fleeing the burning building."

It also detailed operations in the hospital in the days leading up to the bombing, and said staff had noticed that more Taliban fighters were arriving for treatment.

"In the week starting September 28, [the majority of the wounded fighters] shifted to primarily wounded Taliban combatants," according to the report.

GALLERY: Inside Afghanistan's Bombed Hospital

On Oct. 1, the group "received a question from a U.S. government official in Washington, D.C., asking whether the hospital or any other of MSF's locations had a large number of Taliban 'holed up'," the report said. "MSF also expressed that we were very clear with both sides to the conflict about the need to respect medical structures as a condition to our ability to continue working."

The charity does not ask which armed group patients belong to as a matter of policy. Fighters are also prohibited from bringing weapons into the hospital, according to MSF.

The report, which gave a detailed log of its communication with military officials during the attack, also detailed the injuries suffered by staff and patients when the hospital came under attack as it was treating casualties.

It highlighted that the left arm of an MSF nurse was "hanging from a small piece of tissue" after he suffered a "traumatic amputation" in one of the blasts.

When asked to comment on MSF's account, a senior defense official told NBC News:

"The Defense Department and U.S. military are conducting two separate investigations into the October third airstrike in Kunduz and are in active discussions with representatives from Doctors Without Borders to determine the facts. While the incident remains under investigation we are unable to publicly release any findings."

RELATED: See clashes against Taliban militants in Kunduz

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Clashes against Taliban militants in Kunduz
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US plane shot victims fleeing Doctors without Borders hospital: Charity
A burnt-out police pick-up truck stands in the street after Afghan security forces retook control of Kunduz city from the Taliban militants in northeastern Kunduz province, on October 1, 2015. Afghan forces retook control of the strategic northern city of Kunduz on October 1 after a three-day Taliban occupation that dealt a stinging blow to the country's NATO-trained military. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan special forces arrive at the airport as they launch a counteroffensive to retake the city from Taliban insurgents, in Kunduz on Septmber 29, 2015. The Afghan army on September 29 launched a counter-offensive to retake Kunduz from the Taliban, a day after insurgents overran the strategic northern city. AFP PHOTO / Nasir Waqif (Photo credit should read NASIR WAQIF/AFP/Getty Images)
An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier carries a colleague who was wounded during an offensive with Taliban insurgents in Kunduz on September 30, 2015. NATO said September 30 its special forces were supporting Afghan troops in Kunduz after Taliban insurgents seized the city, fought off a counter-attack and advanced on the airport to shore up their biggest victory in 14 years. Heavy fighting was underway near the northern city's airport where government forces retreated, highlighting the potent challenge the militants pose after their lightning capture of Kunduz. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
This photograph taken on September 29, 2015 shows Afghan security personnel keeping watch as heavy fighting erupted near the airport on the outskirts of Kunduz. Taliban insurgents who seized the Afghan city of Kunduz have defied a counter-offensive and advanced on the airport where government forces retreated after the fall of the strategic northern gateway. Heavy fighting erupted near the airport on the city's outskirts as the insurgents closed in late on September 29, highlighting the potent challenge the militants represent after their lightning capture of Kunduz the previous day. AFP PHOTO / Nasir Waqif (Photo credit should read NASIR WAQIF/AFP/Getty Images)
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